Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our attempt to make some sense of the 2010-11 season. Sit back. Relax. Grab some popcorn. Get your read on. Today: Jeremiah Rivers.
Final Stats (32 games): 3.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.1 spg, 45.8% FG, 75.0% FT in 22.4 minutes per game
Raise your hand if you had Jeremiah Rivers getting 19 starts during his final season in Bloomington. All of you with your hands up, put them down. You’re lying.
While many wrote Rivers off as an afterthought following a frustrating junior season where he was given the keys to run the IU offense, the senior from Winter Park, Florida bounced back and went out on a high note.
Rather than accepting a role coming off the bench, which is how he started the year, Rivers worked hard and earned his way back into the starting lineup. It was probably lost in the shuffle to the casual observer, but the maturity shown by Rivers and his improvement as the season moved along was a bright spot on this team.
Although his scoring, rebounding and assist averages were down due to a decrease in minutes, his field-goal percentage improved (from 40.4 percent as a junior to 45.8 percent as a senior) as did his free throw percentage (from 57.8 percent as a junior to 75 percent as a senior). The lift in both categories was significant given the limits of Rivers’ offensive game.
Indiana coach Tom Crean, sophomore Jordan Hulls, senior Jeremiah Rivers and sophomore Christian Watford met with the media following the Hoosiers’ season-ending 61-55 loss to Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament.
COACH CREAN: I thought our guys played with tremendous heart, discipline, toughness, and they left it out there, and I think that’s what’s most important. Penn State did, as well. And we knew that’s the kind of effort we were going to need to play against them, and obviously they felt the same way. It was a hard-fought game, and we didn’t shoot the ball great. We didn’t rebound the ball nearly as well in the second half. But we still played at a very high level of competitiveness.
When we play that way, we have capabilities. We’ve done that certainly at times this year, and when we have, we’ve been successful. Tonight we weren’t successful obviously with the win, but our guys have a mindset that’s growing, and I’m proud of what they did, and that’s where I’m at.
Q. Jordan, starting the game out, Penn State on a pretty good opening the game up, you knocked down a couple shots yourself and you had a three and then that stretch, Victor off the bench, what did he bring to the team, no doubt a lot of energy?
JORDAN HULLS: Yeah, Victor no doubt brought a lot of energy on offensive rebounds. I don’t know how many he had, but he definitely brought that to our team, which we needed. But there in the first half, we cut it to — or they got it up one to end the half, so that was tough for us. But like I said, Victor just played great for us today.
Q. Jeremiah, more so just your journey now, your final game. Talk about the last three years at Indiana and what your emotions are like right now knowing this is your final game?
JEREMIAH RIVERS: Yeah, it has been a journey. I mean, two years at Georgetown, two good years at Georgetown, three good years here really. Honestly, I’ve created such a strong bond with my teammates. Like I told them in the locker room after the game, this is my family and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. This was the best experience of my life. I’ve grown so much as a man and as a person and seeing these guys grow and getting better and better and moving forward, it was a blessing, and I thank them for having my back all the time.
The waters have begun to settle around the Big Ten contenders and pretenders, both in terms of conference title credentials and NCAA aspirations.
Michigan might have played its way in down the stretch if not for a trademark Wisconsin bank shot to win at the buzzer. Illinois and Michigan State stand on precarious ground, but could be in with strong respective finishes. Penn State is almost surely out, and poor Minnesota — for whom nothing ever seems to go as planned — is probably done as well. *sigh Tubby Smith*
So let’s rock and roll:
Inside the Hall Big Ten power rankings: Week 10
I Think This is the Final Stop at No. 11. Indiana – NR; 12-17, 3-13; 33 total points
It’s easy to tell where things have gone wrong for the Hoosiers after an impressive run of play in the middle of the conference schedule. The problem is simply that it would take too much time. The incessant fouling is one glaring problem. That’s a good start, but it’s hardly the end of the list of this team’s flaws as currently constituted.
It’s The Same Old Song At No. 10: Iowa – NR; 10-18, 3-13; 30 total points
There’s definitely a case to be made for a brighter future in Iowa City. We just can’t really make it right now. Fear not, Hawkeyes fans: Spring football begins soon. But then maybe that’s not exactly the most exciting proposition either.
Still On the NIT Bubble at No. 9. Northwestern – NR; 16-12, 6-1; 27 total points
It always comes back around to this for Northwestern, doesn’t it? Bill Carmody’s Big Ten finishes: 11th, seventh, 10th, tied for fifth, eighth, tied for eighth, 10th, 11th, ninth, seventh, which comes to an average of right around 8.5. So this seems about average.
BLOOMINGTON — There’s a potentially intriguing confluence of surface trends and storylines converging for tomorrow night’s Indiana-Purdue rivalry, this time renewed in Bloomington.
On one side, Indiana comes into the game having lost its last four games, with three of those coming against the other three teams in the bottom four of the Big Ten (Iowa, Michigan and Northwestern). Their last loss, at the hands of the Wildcats at home Saturday, was so disappointing that coach Tom Crean called a 7:30 a.m. Sunday practice.
But given that Christian Watford is healthy again — he sat out with his wrist injury the last time these teams met — the Hoosiers do offer a wrinkle Purdue didn’t have to contend with last time.
Purdue, by contrast, rides in at its season’s high-water mark, having defeated Wisconsin and Ohio State at home last week and moved firmly into the nation’s top 10. E’Twaun Moore scored 38 points in a magnificent effort against Ohio State on Sunday.
So whether practically or on paper, Wednesday will be an uphill climb for Indiana.